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Missouri sheriff refuses to release gun owner info to the FBI: 'I will go down with the ship if need be'

Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

A sheriff in Missouri has refused to release gun owner information to the FBI, even if the agency threatens to arrest him.

Republican Scotland County Sheriff Bryan Whitney wrote to residents in his community on Monday about the plan to audit Missouri's gun owner records.

"As the sheriff of Scotland County, I want all my citizens to know that I will not allow, cooperate or release any [conceal carry weapon] information to the FBI, ‘even at the threat of a federal arrest,’" said Whitney.

"Point Blank, ‘I will go down with the ship if need be,’" he added, according to Fox News.

Whitney says the FBI planned to audit 24 counties, though it is unknown which counties in Missouri would be affected.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt also sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, criticizing the decision.

"The FBI has absolutely no business poking around in the private information of those who have obtained a concealed carry permit in Missouri," Schmitt wrote.

"The Second Amendment rights of Missourians will absolutely not be infringed on my watch," he added. "I will use the full power of my Office to stop the FBI, which has become relentlessly politicized and has virtually no credibility, from illegally prying around in the personal information of Missouri gun owners."

Schmitt also pointed out that many Missouri residents don't trust the FBI because of various recent scandals involving the bureau.

"You may wonder why there is such strong suspicion of federal agents here in the ‘Show Me State.’ Simply put, Missourians are hard-working, law-abiding citizens who don’t need a national nanny-state keeping tabs on us. But more than that, over the last couple of years, we’ve seen story after story of incompetence and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI," he added.

The FBI said in a statement to Fox News that the audit would be routine and that no personal information would be at risk.

Schmitt, however, pointed directly to the "witch hunt" against former President Donald Trump to support his contention that the FBI could not be trusted.

Here's more about Missouri defying the FBI:

Several Missouri sheriffs say they refuse to handover concealed carry documents if asked by ... www.youtube.com

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